Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 191–195 | Cite as

Histological findings in adipocytes when cellulite is treated with a variable-emission radiofrequency system

  • Mario A. TrellesEmail author
  • Claudia van der Lugt
  • Serge Mordon
  • Adriana Ribé
  • Marwan Al-Zarouni
Original Article


Cellulite is a disorder of the subcutaneous fat layer and the overlying superficial skin. Recently, radiofrequency (RF) has been proposed as an effective treatment of cellulite; however, the mechanism through which the absorbed electrical energy acts on the tissue is still not fully clear. This study reports on the histological findings from biopsies taken immediately after a single RF treatment session, on cellulite located in the buttocks, with a novel technology called automatic multi-frequency and low impedance (AMFLI) RF. Tissue samples were stained with either haematoxylin and eosin (H&E), so that we could study the morphological findings, or with oil red O, to enable us to identify lipid deposits. The histological findings observed in biopsies taken after a single RF treatment showed changes in shape, size, and lipid content, as well as in cytoplasmic and nuclear morphology. After RF treatment adipocytes were more polyhedric, with irregular, degenerated membranes, with less or no lipid content and apoptotic changes. We postulate that RF treatment on cellulite produces a decrease in lipid content of cells as well as changes in the adipocyte membrane which will lead to cell rupture and the death and extrusion of lipid content out of the cell. Further studies are needed to characterise the nature of the extra-cellular lipid material that we have demonstrated with the oil red O stain in our biopsies.


Radiofrequency Adipose tissue Cellulite Histology Red oil 



On behalf of his co-authors and himself, M.A.T. declares no financial or other interest in the company and equipment mentioned in this study. The authors acknowledge receipt of a grant for this study from the Fundación Antoni de Gimbernat in whose 2007–2008 activities the subject matter of this article is registered.


  1. 1.
    Alster TS, Tanzi EL (2005) Cellulite treatment using a novel combination radiofrequency, infrared light and mechanical tissue manipulation device. J Cosmet Laser Ther 7:81–85. doi: 10.1080/14764170500190242 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sadick NS, Mullholland RS (2004) A prospective clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of cellulite treatment using the combination of optical and RF energies for subcutaneous tissue heating. J Cosmet Laser Ther 6:187–190. doi: 10.1080/14764170410003039 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Alster TS, Tehrani M (2006) Treatment of cellulite with optical devices: an overview with practical considerations. Lasers Surg Med 38:727–730. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20411 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rossi ABR, Vergnanini AL (2000) Cellulite: a review. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 14:251–262. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-3083.2000.00016.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Trelles MA, Mordon S (2009) Adipocyte Membrane Lysis is observed after cellulite treatment is performed with Radio Frequency. Aesth Plast Surg 33:125–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mordon S, Wassmer B, Eymard-Maurin AF, Ringot J (2007) Histologic evaluation of laser lipolysis: pulsed 1,064 nm Nd:YAG laser versus CW 980 nm diode laser. Aesthetic Surg J 27:263–268. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2007.03.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ichikawa K, Miyasaka M, Tanaka R, Tanino R, Mizukami K, Wakaki M (2005) Histologic evaluation of the pulsed Nd:YAG laser for laser lipolysis. Lasers Surg Med 36:43–46. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20118 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Badin AZ, Gondek LB, Garcia MJ, Valle LC, Flizikowski FB, de Noronha L (2005) Analysis of laser lipolysis effects on human tissue samples obtained from liposuction. Aesthetic Plast Surg 29:281–286. doi: 10.1007/s00266-004-0102-9 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    del Pino E, Rosado RH, Azuela A, Guzman G, Arguelles D, Rodriguez C, Rosado GM (2006) Effect of controlled volumetric tissue heating with radiofrequency on cellulite and the subcutaneous tissue of the buttocks and thighs. J Drugs Dermatol 5:714–722Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Romero C, Caballero N, Herrero M, Ruíz R, Sadick NS, Trelles MA (2008) Effects of cellulite treatment with RF, IR light, mechanical massage and suction treating one buttock with the contralateral as a control. J Cosmet Laser Ther 10:193–201. doi: 10.1080/14764170802524403 Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Boreham DR, Dolling JA, Maves SR, Miller S, Morrison DP, Mitchel RE (1997) Heat-induced thermal tolerance and radiation resistance to apoptosis in human lymphocytes. Biochem Cell Biol 75:393–397. doi: 10.1139/bcb-75-4-393 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fishelson Z, Hochman I, Greene LE, Eisenberg E (2001) Contribution of heat shock proteins to cell protection from complement-mediated lysis. Int Immunol 13:983–991. doi: 10.1093/intimm/13.8.983 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kostyuk O, Brown RA (2004) Novel spectroscopic technique for in situ monitoring of collagen fibril alignment in gels. Biophys J 87:648–655. doi: 10.1529/biophysj.103.038976 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hoffman AH, O’Connor JP, Grigg P (2007) Realignment of collagen fibers in mouse skin. Proceedings Book, FASCIA Research CongressGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Trelles, MA, Levy, JL, Ghersetich, I (2008) Effects achieved on stretch marks by a nonfractional broadband infrared light system treatment. Aesthetic Plast Surg 32:523–530Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario A. Trelles
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claudia van der Lugt
    • 2
  • Serge Mordon
    • 3
  • Adriana Ribé
    • 4
  • Marwan Al-Zarouni
    • 5
  1. 1.Instituto Medico Vilafortuny/Antoni de Gimbernat FoundationCambrilsSpain
  2. 2.Alizonne Preventive and Cosmetic MedicineMeijelThe Netherlands
  3. 3.INSERM U703 & Lille University HospitalLilleFrance
  4. 4.Institut Dra. Natalia RibéBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Vilafortuny Dental and Plastic Surgery Laser CentreDubaiUnited Arab Emirates

Personalised recommendations